Over the past two days, Hitachi Rail and Friends of Figgate Park – a volunteer group recognised by the City of Edinburgh Council – have worked together to build a new educational children’s cycle path in Craigentinny’s Figgate Park.
Phase one of the project was completed earlier this week with Hitachi Rail employees, along with local and Friends of Figgate Park volunteers, pitching in to make the new cycle area. This included digging out the required trench and moving over 20 tonnes of topsoil for a wildflower meadow, to increase biodiversity with the introduction of 1,000 plants.
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It was a real community effort, with the local Morrisons and bakery offering food and refreshments to ensure all the volunteers were fed and watered on the two days.
Hitachi Rail’s support for this project included funding, supplying the raw materials, machinery needed for the cycle track, and volunteers to help with construction. This is just phase one of the bike track project, with plans in place to install further railway-themed elements such as a bench made from train wheel sets, a railway history trail and platform, as well as planting to increase the biodiversity of the area.
This week’s efforts are part of a longer partnership with Friends of Figgate Park, which has seen Hitachi Rail volunteer on several occasions over the past few years due to Craigentinny Train Maintenance Centre sitting adjacent to the park.
Hitachi Rail employee and Production Manager Paul Charles, who has been integral to making the project happen, said: “We are located in a busy part of the city, with limited safe spaces, where infants can learn to ride a bike. I know we are all keen to see more kids building up cycling skills and confidence as they will utilise cycling throughout their lives. With the path following the southern fence line of the depot, eagle-eyed young cyclists will have a view of our trains arriving and departing into service.”
Debs Holloway, Chair of the Friends of Figgate Park, said: “The new cycle track is a great addition to the play area of the park – the idea originally came from local kids and I’m delighted that it has finally happened, I’m sure it will be well used and we’ll see wee ones develop their cycling skills in this fun and safe area.
The wildflower planting on the inside of the track will also increase biodiversity in this area. The Friends Group are grateful to Paul Charles from the Hitachi Train Depot for
all his support and to all the volunteers in our community who have contributed to the project.”
Adrian Mathieson, Craigentinny Depot Manager for Hitachi Rail said: “Supporting the local area and creating a better environment is something that is really important to the Hitachi Rail team at Craigentinny. Our ongoing collaboration with Friends of
Figgate Park is delivering a real benefit for the local community.”